Following the official handover at Damen Shipyards Mangalia last month, Debmarine Namibia’s new diamond recovery vessel has now departed on a four-week long maiden voyage to the Port of Cape Town, South Africa. Here, it will be fitted with mission equipment before beginning operations off the coast of Namibia early next year.
The delivery marks the end of the shipbuilding phase of a landmark project that began over three years ago. It is the first vessel to be delivered by Damen Shipyards Mangalia, the Romanian yard that joined the Damen group in 2018, to take on large and complex, engineered to order projects under the banner of the Mid-Sized Vessels division.
Largest diamond recovery vessel in the world
Debmarine Namibia is a subsidiary of the well-known diamond mining and jewellery company De Beers, owned in equal shares with the Government of the Republic of Namibia. The Additional Mining Vessel (AMV#3) as it is technically known, will use sub-sea crawling extraction techniques to retrieve diamonds from the seabed off the coast of Namibia. These will then be processed on board.
With 177 metres in length, it is now the largest diamond recovery vessel in the world and the new flagship of the Debmarine Namibia fleet. The vessel is expected to operate for at least thirty years and reportedly cost more than 400 million euros.
The build involved many challenges, ranging from the onset of Covid-19 early in the project to the management of many subcontractors, each contributing their specialist skills and products. Engineering challenges included the installation of a DP2 dynamic positioning system based on a seven-thruster propulsion system powered by six generators, to enable greater flexibility in the vessel’s operations. Project management was undertaken by De Beers Marine South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
With the constraints of Covid-19 Damen also undertook the complete commissioning process, implementing incremental ways of working to ensure that it was all completed on time.
Picture (top): De Beers’ latest diamond recovery vessel departs Damen Shipyards Mangalia (by Christoph Govaert).